Friday, July 21, 2006

Frostop Root Beer
1 liter
plastic bottle
C-B Beverages, Hopkins, MN
cold, no ice

Yet another soda that split the judges! Will this fractiousness ever end? Have the troubles that plague the world finally entered the Eden that is Summer of Soda?

Kate called Frostop--a brand we discovered while in the wilds of southwestern Michigan--a "totally ordinary root beer." The smell, according to Kate, "hits you like a slap as soon as you open the bottle." It tastes like a root beer sucker then, thanks to the corn syrup, the flavor vanishes like a thief in the night. "All promise," Kate sniffed, "and no delivery."

On the other hand, I liked Frostop. It was very sweet, but also very foamy (surfactants?), which made it fun to drink. It had a root-y, licorice aftertaste that was present, but not overpowering. To me, Frostop is completely acceptable; it isn't as good as a Sprecher's or Fitz's, much less a cane sugar microbrewed soda like Americana or Virgil's, but it is quite nice to drink.

Final verdict: Kate didn't like it. I think she felt used. The packaging kept me from expecting too much, and within those limited parameters, Frostop satisfied.

KP: 3 of 10
MG: 6.5 of 10
Stewart's Key Lime
12 fl. oz.
glass bottle
Stewart's Beverages, Rye Brook, NY
cold, no ice

A commenter--the indefatigable Dr. Wallass--has told us that actress Kirstie Alley drinks 16 bottles of Stewart Key Lime a day. The woman must have guts of iron! I hated hated HATED this soda. It smells and tastes like something you'd mix with water in a bucket and mop the floor with. I tasted it twice--which took devotion, folks--just to make sure it was awful, and yep, it was awful.

Kate, who I don't think has suffered head trauma but maybe so, started off by saying what a pretty limeade green it was. She called the flavor "refreshingly natural, but I can't taste Key Lime...Tastes like Rose's Lime Juice to me." (Rose's is, for those lucky enough to have avoided it, an undrinkable lime-substitute used in mixing gimlets and such.) Kate even called it "the perfect drink for a Martha Stewart-style color-coordinated luncheon." Perhaps if she were still in prison, dear. Or real limes had been eradicated by Sumatran Lime Blight. The only qualm my dear bride had was the slightness of the flavor: "It's like drinking flavored air."

Final verdict: Kate--explicably--liked it, while Mike considers it a corn-syrup substitute for Mr. Clean. Well, at least one of us would get along with Kirstie Alley.

KP: 5 of 10
MG: 0 of 10
Stewart's Grape
12 fl. oz.
glass bottle
Stewart's Beverages, Rye Brook, NY
cold, no ice

Some sodas were bound to expose the faults in Kate's and my marriage. These next few have.

I liked Stewart's Grape. Keeping in mind that what we're calling "grape" tastes nothing whatsoever like that thing that grows on vines, is made into wine, et cetera, Stewart's Grape soda is a classic grape soda--it's a nice reddish purple, has a powerful grape odor, and a sweetness that fade into tart by the end of the swallow. My love for sodas like this is plainly genetic; when I was tasting this my Mom said, "When I was a kid, cheese popcorn, grape soda and a scary movie was my idea of a great Friday night." Mine too, Mom. Still is, in fact.

Kate, however, is no sentimentalist. She called the smell of Stewart's Grape "weapons grade" and compared it to "a fruity tear gas." She also didn't like the stickiness of it--"my lips felt gummy after just a few sips." The usual complaints were offered about the use of corn syrup and how it makes the flavor ephemeral.

Final verdict: Kate's correct to call Stewart's Grape "a thousand purple jelly beans boiled into every teaspoon." And that's just the way I liked it.

KP: 4 of 10
MG: 7 of 10